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Archive for the ‘Pickling’ Category

Okay, so if this photo is looking familiar to you…congratulations!  You don’t have short-term memory loss!  The end.

I kid (well, not really about the memory loss thing, so if you got a little self-esteem boost from that, I’m letting you keep it).  If this photo looks familiar to you, it’s because I posted it last Friday, for Friday Food Porn.

The Boy eats this stuff with a spoon in front of the TV…you know, ’cause he’s hardcore.  I’m almost as hardcore…as I mentioned last week, I occasionally put out a jar of this stuff with a bag of tortilla chips and a blender of margaritas and call it dinner.

Which is totally acceptable, by the way, because Kate said so.  See?:

“Well, ummmm, sometimes you just need a Tortilla Chip and Margarita dinner. Here is an enabling moment – make some lacto fermented salsa and then you can feel downright righteous about them!

Kate just gets me, people.  Virtual pair of projectile fishnets slingshotted in Kate’s direction.  Which is what I do for people I like.  I throw my intimate apparel at them.  Naturally.

But there was another interesting comment in the mix.  Misfit jamaica-momma said:

“looks DIVINE!!!
recipe please??? & is there a way to veganize it?”

You know you cute lil’ misfits get anything you want out of me.  I CAN’T say no.

Truth is, you don’t need starter culture (whey) at all to make lacto-fermented pickles.  You can just add a little extra salt to speed things along, and then let lactic acid fermentation and healthy bacteria take their natural course.  It will take longer to pickle your food without the head start, but it works just the same.  A second option is using a vegetable starter culture instead of whey.  You can buy that here.

So what have we learned here today?  The BMG likes to put some spice in your life.  Also, I throw my underthings at people.  Oh, AS IF you’re surprised.

Lacto-Fermented Escabeche
Makes 3 quarts

Go Get:

6 jalapeno peppers, cut into thick slices (dial this number down if you don’t like spicy–as is, the recipe makes a medium-to-hot escabeche)
6 Tablespoons whey from drained yogurt (if you’re vegan or prefer not to use a dairy culture, try this vegetable starter culture. If you omit starter cultures entirely, up the salt and fermentation time.)
5 1/3 cups bite-size cauliflower florets
1 1/2 Tablespoons salt (if you’re not using whey or starter culture, increase this to 2 1/2 Tablespoons)
1 1/2 Tablespoons black peppercorns
2 heaping teaspoons dried oregano
1 large white onion, sliced thinly
5 cloves garlic, minced
6 large carrots, sliced into wheels

Go Do:

Toss all ingredients (except whey) together in a large bowl.  Allow everything to sit and “sweat” for a few minutes.  Now pack the veggies tightly into the jars and pour in 2 Tablespoons of whey per jar.  Top up the mixture with filtered water to cover.  Now place open Ziploc bags over the jars (open side up), and fill them with enough water to weigh the veggies down and keep them submerged.  When you have that right, seal the bags, cover the jars loosely with a towel, and let sit in a dark, room-temperature location.  Check the escabeche for sourness and texture daily–the carrots should still be snappy.  My escabeche is usually perfect after about 1 week, but your results will differ based on temperature and environment–if you’re not using any whey or starter culture at all, it will take longer.  Once it’s perfect, refrigerate the batch to slow fermentation and enjoy!  It’ll keep for about a year, and usually longer.

Note: If a little mold develops on top, don’t worry–this is normal.  Just skim it off, rinse and replace the bag, and keep fermenting.

Another note: When I want the flexibility of varying heat levels, I put varying amounts of jalapeno slices in each jar.  Then I label them accordingly: “Mild,” “Medium,” and “Oh Dear GOD.”

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**Psst!  I’ve since posted the recipe for this here.**

Spicy pickled escabeche, just like the kind you’d find on the tables at authentic taquerias.  Only this one is lacto-fermented, so it packs a sour, probiotic punch.

Shockingly addictive, and it also makes BMG feel pretty a-okay about tortilla chip and margarita dinners.

As if a sense of propriety were standing in my way?

PLEASE.

Happy weekend, misfits!

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Whoah, look at you.  You are WAY sophisticated.  Who pickles grapes?  YOU DO.

First mushrooms and now this.  I must say, you’re quite the enterprising misfits.

Impressing guests at your next kegger wine and cheese party can be as simple as popping open a jar of these babies.  No wine and cheese party?

You’re screwed!

Wait…I meant, No wine and cheese party?

No problem!  Simply turn off your phone, lock yourself in the pantry, and party down with your three best friends: cheese, a spoon, and your elastic jammy tutu pants.  Friendship has never been so simple.

Cinnamon Spice Pickled Grapes
Makes 6 half-pints

Go Get:
2 1/2 lbs. black, seedless grapes
3 cups dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon Saigon Cassia Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Jamaican Allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
A few pinches salt
1 teaspoon peppercorns

Go Do:
Start with sterilized canning jars and lids and get a boiling water bath canner going. Now wash the grapes and pull them from their stems.

Stab each one with a fork.

What can I say?  Grapes just make me feel violent.

Now put all ingredients except the grapes in a pot and bring it to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally.  When the sugar and salt are dissolved, stir in the grapes.

When the mixture returns to a boil, shut it off and use a slotted spoon to transfer the grapes into the jars.

Pour brine over them up to a half inch before the top.  Wipe the rims (may wanna dampen your cloth…sugar gets sticky and all), and apply the lids.  Screw on the rings just a wittle bit tight and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.   Line a cookie sheet with a towel and use a canning jar lifter to transfer the jars from the bath onto the cookie sheet.  Let them sit for a day, at which point you can check the seals.

Note: Jars didn’t seal?  Don’t feel like canning?  No problem–just move unsealed jars into the fridge, where they’ll last for several months.

Another Note: For a totally herbaceous variation, put a sprig of rosemary in each jar before adding the grapes.  You fancy minx, you!

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I know what you’re thinking–mushrooms can be neither fine nor sexy.  But oh.

Oh!

OH!

They can.  And they are.  In this recipe in particular.  Now, these are pretty boss straight out the jar or with a sandwich or on a hamburger, but your Bad Mama Genny likes to push the envelope.  Put a few in a martini and watch people gasp at your fearlessness in the face of fungi!  Better yet, offer a whole bottle as a gift alongside a bottle of nice gin or vodka. (Or perhaps some cheap vodka that you’ve turned into gin, using my instructions.  Or hell, you could just buy a bottle of gin named after me.)

Because nothing says “Happy Birthday” like good old-fashioned enabling.

Now, the other nice thing about this recipe is that you trim the mushrooms before pickling, so you end up with lots of little mushroom bits and bobs.  And what a coincidence, I LOVE little mushroom bits and bobs!

Aww, look at all those misfit mushroom pieces just waiting to make you feel like the lady you aren’t.

They’re perfect for frying up in pan drippings with a little wine for a burger topping.  Or throw them into a veggie burger mix.  How about soup?  A vegetable stir fry?  See, I just KNEW you’d come around to little mushroom bits and bobs!

(Psst, remember when we talked about growing your own mushrooms?  Oh, right, here.  And here.  And here.  And here, too.  Surely it’s never too early to start thinking about how you’ll pass those chilly winter nights without a homesteading project!  What’s that?…you’re planning on drinking?  Well, gosh…that’s a solid plan.  Carry on!)

Fine and Sexy Pickled Mushrooms
Makes 6 pints

Go Get:
5 1/2 lbs.small, white button mushrooms
1 head garlic cloves, peeled and lightly smashed with the side of a chef’s knife
6 bay leaves
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 Tablespoons pickling/canning salt
4 cups white wine vinegar
6 sprigs thyme
6 sprigs rosemary
3 teaspoons black peppercorns

Go Do:
Start with sterilized canning jars and lids and get a boiling water bath canner going.  Now divide the peppercorns, herb sprigs, bay leaves, and smashed garlic cloves evenly amongst the jars.

Thoroughly wash the mushrooms and trim the stems super short.  Save the trimmings for another use.

Slice large mushrooms in halves or quarters to maintain some kind of size uniformity.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil, stir in the lemon juice, and add the mushrooms.  Cook until they’re tender, about 8-10 minutes.  Now.  Embrace the slotted spoon.  The slotted spoon is your friend.  Transfer the mushrooms from the pot to two tea towel-lined cookie sheets to drain.  Take care not to ignite your favorite new tea towel while doing this.

Not that I’d know.

Or anything.

Then divide the mushrooms evenly among the jars.

In a pot, combine the vinegar with 1 cup water and the salt, and bring it to a boil over high heat.  Cook until salt is dissolved, then use a canning funnel to pour the brine in each jar to within 1/2 inch of the top.  Wipe the jar rims, position the lids and rings, screw them on only a wittle bit tight, and process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.  Line a cookie sheet with a towel and use a canning jar lifter to transfer the jars from the bath onto the cookie sheet.  Let them sit by themselves (aww, poor mushrooms) for a day, at which point you can check the seals.

Note: Jars didn’t seal?  Don’t feel like canning?  No problem–just move unsealed jars into the fridge, where they’ll last for several months.

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(Psst…if you haven’t signed up for my subversive cross stitch giveaway yet, do so now!)

When your Bad Mama Genny and The Boy lived in the New York City place, we frequented the occasional Jewish deli.

Fine, the SLIGHTLY MORE THAN OCCASIONAL Jewish deli.  What can I say?  I’m a half-Jew.  Making me a Cashew.  Fun, little known fact about your Bad Mama Genny, misfits.  Oy vey!

In any case, these fine establishments almost always carry the elusive, the beautiful, the mouthgasm inducing…SOUR PICKLE.  These are totally different from vinegar pickles–they’re sour because they go through lactic acid fermentation, which gives them a unique flavor profile, makes them easier to digest, and grants them special probiotic superpowers.

I am all about superpowers, misfits.  Just this weekend, The Boy’s mom taught me how to crochet.  She was in town for a funeral, which is pretty much as good a place to learn crochet as any other.  There were no sour pickles at this funeral, but someone did chip a tooth, so that was exciting!

It was me.

Oddly enough, there are those who think the most valuable thing in the pickle crock isn’t even the pickles–it’s the garlic.  In fact, lacto-fermented garlic is something of a folk remedy for its probiotic and antibacterial properties, as well as its ability to repel strangely moody, pale man-boy mouth breathers with names that rhyme with Schmedward.  So basically, this garlic IS SOME VALUABLE SHIT.  And, um, just in case you were worrying that this recipe wouldn’t include enough of that fine and funky garlic?

Yeah, I think we’re pretty well covered here.

Y’know, naturally-fermented pickle brine was also once a precious commodity and cure-all.  But historical misfits wouldn’t stop at applying it to cuts, bruises, and rashes–they used it on wrinkles, too, which is just. so. sexy.  Of course, people don’t do this anymore, but I say, why pass up a perfectly good opportunity to torture the people you love?  In fact, the next time The Boy walks into the room, I plan to toss a bucket of cold pickle brine into his face.  For love.

Naturally.

Make up some naturally-fermented pickles with your bumper crop of cukes, lovey loves.  Because the BMG is worried that you may not be colonized by sufficient numbers of foreign bodies.

Colonizing you with foreign bodies.  It’s one of the things I do best.

Lacto-Fermented Garlic Dill Pickles
Makes 1 gallon pickles

Go Get:
3 1/2 lbs. pickling cucumbers, washed, with blossom end shaved off (that would be the non-stem end)
6 Tablespoons sea salt
1 rounded teaspoon calcium chloride (optional, for crisp)
3 heads garlic, peeled and smashed with the side of a chef’s knife
1/2 cup whey (extract whey from yogurt like so) (wanna do this the vegan/dairy-free way?  See this post.)
2 large bunches dill weed
2 Tablespoons coriander seeds
2 Tablespoons dill seed
1 Tablespoon peppercorns
2 teaspoons mustard seed

Go Do:
Start with a clean, 1 gallon container–a pitcher works well for this.  Pile in the cukes, layering them with the dill weed, garlic cloves, and spices.

At this point you may be wondering if my manicures are EVER unchipped.  The answer is…no.

Reposition any cukes you have to in order to keep them several inches below the top of the container.  Now mix 8 cups of lukewarm (not hot), filtered water with the calcium chloride (if using), salt, and whey.  Stir and pour over the pickles to thoroughly submerge them.  If you need more liquid to cover, add additional filtered water.  Now place an open Ziploc bag over the crock (open side up), and fill with enough water to weight the cucumbers down and keep them submerged.  When you have that right, seal the bag, cover the whole thing loosely with a towel, and let sit in a dark, room-temperature location.  Check the pickles for sourness each day.  Mine are usually at optimal sourness in 1 week, but your results will differ based on temperature and environment.  Once they’re where you like ’em, refrigerate the batch to slow fermentation and enjoy!  They’ll keep for about a year, and usually longer.

Note: If a little mold develops on top, don’t worry–this is normal.  Just skim it off, rinse and replace the bag, and keep on fermenting, lovey doves.

Note Again: Pickled garlic turns blue sometimes.  It’s normal.  We all get blue sometimes, right?  Well, this is a totally harmless chemical reaction and you can (and should, and MUST) still eat the blue cloves.

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